Relics & Ruins – A Post-Apocalyptic Game Project

A few years ago I wrote a post-apocalyptic RPG called Relics & Ruins.  It was my first attempt at an ‘old school’ type game, based on Microlite74/Microlite20.  On the Microlite20 site it had close to 400 downloads, though I have no evidence that anyone ever actually played the game.  Ah well.

As I am in need of blog fodder, I decided to write v2 of the game as an ongoing project, though it will end up being quite different from the M74 version.  And even though the game will be significantly different, I’m recycling the Relics & Ruins title because 1) I’ve always liked it and 2) I suck at coming up with decent names for stuff.

So here’s what I know about it so far:

  • The game will nominally be based on Swords & Wizardry Whitebox, though the final output will vary significantly
  • It’ll still be post-apocalypse, on the gonzo side
  • It’ll be percentile, skill-oriented; no classes or levels
  • It’ll be a fairly lethal game by design (one reason I didn’t want to incorporate character levels)

Things may change as I come up with new (hopefully better) ideas.


R&R – ‘Races’

So, to kick this off I’ll start with the ‘races’ (for lack of a better term).  Note that some concepts presented herein will be clarified and expanded upon in later posts.  Sorry for that, but it’s the nature of the project.

Pure Human

A pure, un-mutated survivor of the apocalypse, probably living in a sealed bunker or vault (until recently, that is).

  • Pure humans are better educated; they start with 2 ‘pip’ skills
  • Humans have a better grasp of ancient technology; +1 to maximum item complexity (note, this builds on a previous post about junk-rigging for post-apocalypse games)
  • Humans are often idealized, and ancient machines were (usually) designed to interact positively with humans; therefore, they receive +1 to social and logic (machine) reaction rolls


It wouldn’t be the apocalypse without mutants, and it wouldn’t be any fun if you couldn’t play a mutant.  For the purposes of Relics & Ruins, I’m assuming mutant humanoids, though if the GM wants anthropomorphic mutant animals or plants, feel free to pump up the gonzo.

  • Roll four random mutations; they could be good or bad (the tables will be weighted about 75% in favor of beneficial mutations and 25-ish% defects)

Currently I’m leaning towards less gonzo-style mutations (no laser eyebeams), but may create an optional ‘gonzo’ mutation table.


Cyborgs are relics of Ancient wars, or perhaps created by insane A.I. or a mad scientist hiding out in a bunker somewhere.  They’re essentially half-human/half-machine, with many vital organs replaced by mechanical parts (though not the heart or brain).  These cyborgs look hard, with obvious mechanical implants, not sleek and sexy like something out of Shadowrun.

  • Cyborgs require half the food, water and sleep as normal humans, though they do require nominal amounts of power for their machine parts
  • Anything that affects a machine (like EMP) has 1/2 effect on a cyborg (so, for example, cyborgs take 1/2 damage from EMP weapons)
  • Cyborgs can restore hit points either from normal healing or from mechanical repair
  • At the player’s option, some (or all) of their starting salvage may be incorporated into the character’s body as cybernetic components; these items cannot be lost, dropped or stolen and are always considered ‘readied’


Robots are a work in progress.  I’ll likely do a separate post for robots later when/if I get something I like.  However, I will say that R&R robots are clunky, like something out of Fallout or Star Wars droids, rather than near-human androids or replicants.

Next up are primary and secondary abilities.  Cheers!

2) R&R – Primary and Derived Abilities >>


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2 Responses to “Relics & Ruins – A Post-Apocalyptic Game Project”

  1. Jacob Says:

    Hi there, instead of races, call them “sentients.” Its got that sci-fi ring to it that you need for a game with robots and mutants as playable characters.

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